Traditional French Walking Shoe

Fall. The season of changing colors, crunching leaves, and first frosts. The season we New Englanders supposedly look forward to for nine months of the year. It is a time when you want to feel the cool air on your cheek and the warm sun on your brow. A time to go for a walk. And walk we Mainers do--down roads, through woods, along shores, up mountains.  At David Wood, of course, our thoughts are always on style and we have traditionally advocated a New England shoe for our New England pastime. An Alden chukka boot, made in Massachusetts, for support. Or a Rancourt moccasin, made in Maine, for comfort. But this year we have something different. A traditional walking shoe from Paraboot--a French shoe-maker with a pedigree going back a century.

Why Paraboot? It is not just the elegant simplicity of design or the soft chesnut color of the leather, perfect to match the brown and orange hues this time of year. It is the structure--an extra-durable, extra-flexible European method of making a shoe called the Norwegian stitch. Picture a shoe. It has the leather part on top, called the “upper.” Then there’s the “insole,” the part of the sole touching your foot, and a separate “outsole,” the part of the sole touching the ground.

There are two typical ways of assembling these pieces, both named for Massachusetts inventors of the 19th century: the Blake Stitch and the Goodyear Welt. The Blake Stitch, which Rancourt uses, is simple: a single, vertical stitch attaches these three pieces together. It is light and flexible, but perceived as less durable. The Goodyear Welt, used by Alden, stitches these three pieces together through an additional layer called the “welt,” giving the shoe greater durability and improved resistance to the elements. Paraboot’s Norwegian Stitch incorporates both methods: a horizontal stitch attaches the insole to the upper and welt, while a vertical stitch attaches the outsole to the upper and welt. It keeps the shoe comfortable, while ensuring extreme durability and an almost totally waterproof wear. Combined with Paraboot’s signature deep-lug rubber sole for additional friction, it may just be the perfect walking shoe.

We think you will find these shoes designed for an Autumn in the Ardennes just as well suited to Fall in Maine.


See you soon,